Got your skepticism goggles on? Okay. After months of gameplay footage and details, I'm ready to call it: Lightning Returns looks like the best single-player Final Fantasy we've seen in years.
That's right. As Random Encounters fans undoubtedly know, I'm on record as disliking both previous games in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, which will end when Lightning Returns comes out (in North America and Europe) this February. But something about this one feels different. Maybe it's the real-time combat system, or the open-worldness, or what seems to be an unrelenting desire by the development team to free themselves from the shackles of both previous FFXIII games. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.
Kotaku bossman Stephen Totilo saw the game last week. He's not a JRPG guy, but he likes this one. I just leaned over to ask what he thinks. I didn't record what he said, so I'll paraphrase: "It's pretty fun. Also, Jason, you're my favorite person in the world."
Here's a new video (above) showing off eight minutes of subtitled gameplay footage that will give you some idea of what Lightning Returns is like. Check out my preview for hands-on thoughts. This could be one of the good ones. Even if Hope is back.